Farm Progress & Husker Harvest Days Now a ‘NO GO’ Changing conditions cancels shows

ST. CHARLES, ILL. (June 29, 2020) — For more than 65 years, farmers have turned to the Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days for the latest information about new products and tools they can use to boost productivity and profit for their operations. However, for the first time in its history, the show won’t go on. In the best interest of our visitors, exhibitors, partners and staff, Farm Progress has made the difficult decision to cancel both shows in 2020 due to rapidly changing conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Show management had confirmed earlier that the two shows would be operated differently with physical distancing a requirement, along with other health and safety changes to the events. 

While state and local officials had expressed support for both shows, Don Tourte, Senior Vice President, Farm Progress said that in a very short time it became apparent that the situation across the US had rapidly changed. 

“We have been working with officials in Iowa and Nebraska for our shows, and we appreciate the support they expressed for us to hold the events,” Tourte says. “They are critical partners to us, and we are all disappointed to not host the events this year, but feel confident that this is the right decision for our community.”

One of the key features of both shows is their attraction to visitors from across the country, and across the globe.

“Within days of our commitment to hold both farm shows, more than half the United States saw a significant spike in new cases of COVID-19. We have a multi-generational audience that travels from all across the country and around the world to attend the shows and based on that we felt it better to reconsider the traditional show for 2020 to prioritize the safety of all. Our community’s safety is our priority, always,” said Matt Jungmann, Events Manager, Farm Progress.

“Within the next two weeks tents and other work would be underway on site. We had to make a decision based on the current landscape so that our exhibitors and suppliers wouldn’t potentially waste valuable time and resources,” said Jungmann.  “While we are hopeful that case numbers throughout the country will decrease soon, we felt compelled to  make a proactive decision on our community’s behalf, given the information we have today.” 

A virtual experience was already being planned as an extension to the live event. Jungmann explains that while a virtual event won’t give growers the true “tire kicking” experience of being at the show, the events team is gearing up to deliver a robust and dynamic digital experience.   

“Market factors are changing fast, and we’ll have more information in the coming weeks about how our virtual experience will be expanded,” Jungmann says. “We have 400 acres of corn at two sites that have to be harvested. Ground that must be tilled. We’re looking at all of our options to ensure we keep our community connected and engaged.”

Prior Release

In response to farmer and exhibitor interest, Farm Progress Show will proceed as planned, Sept. 1-3, 2020 with enhanced health and safety.

For more than 65 years, farmers have turned to the Farm Progress Show for the latest information about new products and tools they can use to boost productivity and profit for their operations. And that tradition continues for 2020. What attendees will find when they travel to Boone, Iowa, for the show is an important event modified to serve this essential industry during a challenging time.

“We know that the market is dealing with a lot of issues,” says Matt Jungmann, events manager, Farm Progress. “But agriculture is a critical business for this country and farmers are seeking ways to be better at what they do. And nowhere is that more possible than the Farm Progress Show.”

Important business gathering

State fairs across the Midwest have had to make the tough decision to cancel for 2020, often driven by the financial burden of losing key money-making components like concerts and midway carnivals. These are mass gatherings that serve a much different purpose than an Ag tradeshow. Of interest to many is that while the state fairs are canceled, many states and groups are working to hold on to livestock events – further proof that agriculture is essential.

What separates Farm Progress Show from a state fair is that this is an important business event for an essential industry where targeted business is conducted between exhibitors and farmers. And in light of the current crisis, farmers are seeking more information and tools to boost profitability than ever before.

“The Farm Progress Show is not the place you turn to get the latest deep fried anything,” adds Jungmann. “We’re focused on providing a venue where farmers can see new tools, talk to industry experts and work to enhance the way they farm.”

State and local support

With support from officials in Iowa, show management is confident that hosting the Farm Progress Show in 2020 is filling an important service. “Farmers are challenged to find better ways to do everything from planting to spraying to harvest,” says Don Tourte, senior vice president Farm Progress. “That’s not easily done simply by sitting at home attending a virtual event. There’s a need to see this equipment up close and gain a better understanding of how it will work in their operations.”

Tourte adds that the Farm Progress events staff is working closely with a range of Iowa state agencies to ensure the show is conducted in a way that enhances safety of all those who participate while providing exhibitors the chance to reach key customers.

“Our events team has reviewed every aspect of this event with an eye toward exhibitor and visitor safety,” says Tourte. “Long-time visitors to the show will see immediate changes the moment they arrive, from one-way streets to more space for physical distancing.”

Health and safety commitments

The show staff is working diligently to deliver an impactful and engaging event that prioritizes the health and safety of our visitors and exhibitors. New carefully considered plans for safety precautions and procedures will be introduced for this year’s Farm Progress Show. From easily accessible hand sanitizer stations, to enhanced cleaning procedures for buildings and facilities, changes to the event are working to enhance safety for all participants. The show has a long-time history of safe operation, while offering visitors the most extensive gathering of exhibitors in the country.

Farm Progress parent company, Informa, which annually holds more than 600 in-person and virtual content-driven events, and to continue that effort has worked with a range of industry and event association partners to create AllSecure, a set of enhanced standards and guidelines to provide the highest level of hygiene and safety at all Informa’s events. Farm Progress Show will be organized in accordance with the AllSecure standard, providing visitors and exhibitors with reassurance and confidence they are participating in a safe and controlled environment.

“It’s hard to quantify the amount of work that has gone into creation of these standards,” says Jungmann. “The key for farmers, exhibitors and all who plan to attend is that your safety is critical at our events. That’s really always been true, but AllSecure adds that needed, extra layer during a pandemic. We’re excited to host farmers in Boone this year.”